NOVEMBER 2013

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: These charts are drawn for what is commonly called “mid Northern latitudes”, i.e. the UK, northern Europe and most of the US. If you live outside of that area your opportunities to view ISON will be different. To find out if you can see ISON from where YOU live, please go to this page of my blog…

https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/can-i-see-comet-ison-from-where-i-live/

…where you’ll find a fantastic NASA chart giving general guidance, and a number of charts I’ve made showing the comet’s visibility from other places, specifically India, Japan and The Philipines, which are the places I’m getting the most enquiries from. If you’re still not sure about your ability to see ISON after reading all that, I strongly suggest that you download one of the many available astronomy apps onto your phone, which will tell you exactly what you want to know.ย  I recommend some of those on this page of my blog…

https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/ison-publications-and-apps/

Thanks – and good luck with ISON!

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UPDATE: 20th NOVEMBER 2013

There are a LOT of charts on this page, and all of them will be useful to you one way or another, I hope. But I’m aware that some of you visiting here just want a very quick “Where is it? SHOW me!!” guide to where to find the comet, so I’ve come up with some extremely simple charts for you! I hope you’ll scroll down the page and see the others, too, but in the meantime these should help you until month’s end.

NOV 21st: Comet ISON VERY low in the eastern sky before dawn, and hard to see because of the brightening sky and the glare of the nearby Moon, too. You’ll need binoculars to find it.

1 21 Nov 06.00

2 21 Nov 06.06b

Nov 23rd: Even lower and even harder to see now, use the planets Mercury and Saturn, shining close together before dawn, as your guides…

3 23 Nov 06.30

Nov 24th: I’m not sure if it will even be possible to spot ISON by this time, but it can’t hurt to try…! We probably will lose sight of ISON now for a few days as it approaches and then swoops around the Sun…

4 24 Nov 07.00

Nov 30th: Having rounded the Sun a couple of days before, ISON will hopefully survive to reappear in the morning sky, this time over to the left of Mercury and Saturn. We won’t know if it will have a long or bright tail until we see it!

5 30 Nov 07.30

======================================================================================

FINDER CHARTS FOR NOVEMBER 2013

**** NOV 16th UPDATE ****

As you read this, Comet ISON’s brightness is climbing rapidly and unexpectedly, and it has reached the point where it is visible in the morning sky without binoculars or a telescope as a green “star” with a misty tail stretching away from it. Seen through a telescope its tail is developing a lot of detail and structure as the comet finally begins to “wake up” after being a rather disappointing sight in the pre-dawn sky for the past month. It seems that in the next week or so ISON will only get brighter and more impressive – but where do you look for it? There are lots of charts further down this page, but to show you quickly exactly where to look, here’s a finder chart made especially for absolute beginners…

BZDps2GCcAA1vYf.jpg large

Hopefully it won’t be long before you don’t *need* a chart to find ISON, it will just be there, shining in the eastern sky before dawn, obvious to the naked eye. But for now that chart will definitely help you track it down.

If you want to see exactly what it looks like, I suggest you go to another page of this blog, my Updates page for November 2013 (1), which features all my own observing reports and showcases some of the best images being taken of the comet.

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As November opens, Comet ISON MIGHT have brightened to naked eye visibility, or it might not quite have reached that level of brightness yet. It should certainly be visible with a pair of binoculars to anyone who goes to a site with a dark sky unspoiled by light pollution This will be the most exciting time of the whole apparition I think, as each day more and more people get to see it.

Having said that, ISON will STILL be a pre-dawn object, so it will only be visible to people who either get up early or stay up late, i.e people who make a real, concerted effort to see it. Seeing it will still mean getting up before dawn, but if the comet is on track to become a Great Comet then it will definitely be worth it, because by now it shouldn’t need “finding”, it should just be THERE in the sky if you look to the brightening eastern sky before dawn. Of course, it’s possible that ISON will decide to let us all down and fizzle out, we can’t dismiss that possibility. But even if that happens it will still be worth looking for, and these images will help you find it. But let’s be optimistic! Let’s assume ISON behaves itself and doesn’t sputter out, and is a decent naked eye comet. Where will it be..?

As I said, until the very final days of November, the comet will be in the MORNING sky… Looking east at around 5am (UK time, yours will differ if you’re not in the UK, obviously!) on Nov 1st (below) you’ll see this scene: the comet shining close to Mars, with a beeyootiful thin crescent Moon beneath it, and Jupiter shining off to its upper right. I wonder how long ISON’s tail will be at this point…?

On that subject, please note, YET AGAIN, that the tails shown in these images should NOT be taken as accurate, for either their length or brightness. They were generated by planetarium software which can’t accurately predict WHAT a comet’s tail will look like, so just use these images to guide you to WHERE to look at the times given, and take the appearance of the tail on the images with a large pinch of salt, ok?

Ok, Nov 1st, early morning, sky still dark…

That will be an irresistible scene for astrophotographers with a wide angle lens and a clear, dark, un light polluted sky… A little later the sky will be brighter, but if ISON has a tail by Nov 1st there should be some truly lovely pictures to be taken before dawn on Nov 1st, with that thin crescent Moon beneath it…

1 Novb

Below: by November 5th the comet will be here in the early morning sky…

5 Nov

Below: by November 7th, the comet will lie between Mars and Mercury in the eastern sky before dawn…

…and for the next few days the comet makes a beeline for Mercury in the post-sunset sky, a little closer each morning…

10 Novb

Maybe it’ll look something like this on the 10th..? (my own artwork, might be right, might be wrong, we’ll see!)

Nov 10 ISON sunrise..

Below: by the 15th the comet will have moved well away from Mars, and will have begun its plunge towards the Sun, ready for its perihelion “Wheeeeeee!!!” surface-skimming swing around it on Nov 29th. By now we really will have a good idea of just how good ISON is going to be AFTER it rounds the Sun. If it hasn’t got a noticeable tail by now, well, I’ll be very worried! But let’s be optimistic!

Below: the view before dawn on November 17th,

Mercury… Comet… Mars… Jupiter… in a line before dawn… wow!

Now… on the morning of the 18th (below) we MIGHT see something very interesting indeed. Comet ISON will then be close in the sky (though not physically close out there in space) to another comet, Comet 2P Encke, AND the planet Mercury! Encke (and Mercury) will probably need binoculars to see, but hey, we won’t mind that, right? The chance to see two comets and a planet in the same part of the sky will just be too good to pass up! NOTE!!! It will be important to only look BEFORE sunrise tho, never, ever look for something in the sky close to the Sun with ANYTHING that magnifies. If you accidentally catch a glimpse of the Sun you will turn your eye into the equivalent of a fried egg and GO BLIND.

Below: on the next morning, this will be the wide angle view… the way the software has shown Saturn there is a bit misleading, I think the sky will be too bright to see it. But look an hour or so earlier than this and boy, that could be a view to remember…

Below: the viewing situation on Nov 2oth – but seriously, listen, we simply can’t predict what Comet ISON will look like at this point, not yet anyway. It might have a long tail, it might have a wide, feathery tail, it might be slap-across-the-face bright, or just modestly so. WE DON’T KNOW. So, please, from this point on, just use these illustrations as guides to help you know when and where to look for ISON, DON’T look at them – or share them with others – and say “Stuart Atkinson said the comet will look like THIS! Look! It’s going to be amazing!!!! Look how long that tail is!!!”

20 Nov

By the 20th the comet will be so close to the Sun that it will be almost sunrise before its head clears the horizon, so viewing it at all at this time, if it is anything other than a brilliant comet, might be challenging. But there’s a real possibility that we might see the tail sticking up from beyond the horizon before the Sun comes up… And after sunrise? Well, it might be worth looking to see if you can see anything of the comet, but don’t count on it.

20 Nov b

Below: On November 23rd the Moon will start to gatecrash the party again…

Look at that… in a line… Saturn… Comet… Mars, Moon and Jupiter… oh boy…

Below: Nov 25th, and you know what? I think all bets will be off by now. We might all be getting up before dawn to stand and look east in wide-eyed wonder, seeing ISON’s tail jutting up from the horizon, with planets and the Moon decorating it like baubles on a Christmas tree, or we might be looking at something less impressive. We’ll just have to wait and see…

25 Nov

25 Nov b

Below: on the 26th, I really think we’ll see the comet tail well before dawn, before its head rises, with Mars, the Moon and Jupiter keeping it company…

THE END OF NOVEMBER…

..and from the 26th until the end of November? Who knows! It’ll just be a case of get up before dawn, get dressed, go somewhere dark with a flat eastern horizon, and look…

The comet is due to round the Sun on Nov 28th, and on that day we might be in for a jaw-dropping experience – seeing the comet shining close to the Sun in the dytime. Everything will have to go perfectly for that to happen, but it’s possible, and so, if we’re lucky, November 28th will be an amazing, magical day. Let’s go through it.

Because of the geometry of comet and Sun, there probably won’t be a tail to see before dawn on the 28th, because the comet will be rising with its tail parallel to the horizon. BUT, once the Sun has cleared the horizon, there is a very, very intriguing possibility: the comet, approaching its closest point to the Sun, MIGHT be visible as a bright spark nextย  to it in the sky IF the Sun is blocked out by cloud, a building or maybe even just a raised hand. NOT sunglasses, NOT welding glass, NOT a cd, nothing like that, because that would dim the comet itself too. No, the Sun will have to be obscured, leaving the part of the sky with the comet in it visible. People looking for the comet on the 28th (and 29th) will have to be very careful, of course. But if we manage to see it, wow, that will be something won’t it..?

There is a precedent for this. Comet McNaught in 2007 was plainly visible to the naked eye in the daytime sky, as it passed close to the Sun, but it wasn’t as close as ISON will be, so it’s misleading, a little, to compare the two. Again, we’ll have to wait and see…

November 28th

****************

So, on Nov 28th, as ISON screams towards its close encounter with the Sun, if you want to try spotting it in the daytime, where doyou look? The next few images show the Sun/comet orientation for certain times, but with the daytime sky blacked out leaving a black sky behind for clarity. To find the comet using these diagrams you’ll have to make a mental note of roughly where the comet will be in relation to the Sun at the time – above, below, upper left, upper right, wherever – and then go out and, after blocking the Sun with something, look for the comet there, ok?

We actually won’t have a lot of time to try this up here in the UK. The Sun will rise late, set early, and never climb very high in the sky as it traces out an arc across the southern sky, but it has to be worth a shot…! Ok, here you go…

Nov 28th, 10am

28 Nov 10am b

Nov 28th 11am…

28 Nov 11am b

Nov 28th 12.00…

28 Nov 1200

Nov 28th 1pm…

28 Nov 1300

Nov 28th 2pm… by now the Sun will be very low in the sky, making the comet very hard to find… but we will still try, won’t we? ๐Ÿ™‚

28 Nov 1400

And you never know, maybe we’ll see something like this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nov 28th sunset – bye bye comet, at the end of what may well have been a ridiculously exciting (and frustrating!!) day… and unseen by us here in the north the comet will whizz around the Sun, a big ball of ice flying through the flames of hell. No doubt astronomers in the southern hemisphere will be watching it to see what happens, but for us here in the north, the first act of Comet ISON’s performance will be over, leaving us to sit at our computers all evening, and all through the night, trying to keep abreast of developments as the comet is observed by various telescopes, satellites and space probes on, above and beyond the Earth. Make sure you have a lot of coffee in folks, it’s going to be a long, long night…

NOVEMBER 29th

******************

So, here we are, THE BIG DAY at last. Comet ISON will have whipped around the Sun, grazing it in astronomical terms.ย  Astronomers amateur and professional, all around the world, will be sitting at their computers, waiting for updates, waiting to hear if the comet survived its passage. It might not. It might break apart into pieces, leaving a cloud of rubble and ice to fly away from the Sun. That might not actually be a disaster. If the comet nucleus breaks up, it might release a huge amount of dust, which would then blow out away from the Sun to form a stunning tail, like West’s or McNaught’s. That would be a stunning sight. If the comet nucleus survives its plunge through the Sun’s atmosphere, and whips around it intact, well, all bets are off. We might see, instead, a long, straight tail, like Comet Lovejoy’s or Comet Ikeya Seki’s, but really, anything at this point is an absolute guess. All we can do is wait and see what comes out the other side.

So, we’ll get up before dawn, again, go out, again, and look to the east, wondering what we will see. Hopefully Comet ISON won’t have been simply consumed by the Sun, leaving nothing behind. Hopefully we’ll look to the north east and see the comet’s post-perihelion tail beaming up into the sky before the break of dawn…

29 Nov 0430

29 Nov 0530

If the sky is clear around 06.30 on the 29th, and IF ISON has developed a good tail after its solar swoosh, looking north east we could see something like this…

29 Nov 0630b

BUT NOTE!! AGAIN, these images now might show a beautiful, long, brilliant tail, but don’t take them as scientific predictions of what we might see. They’re not, they’re really not. Please, just use them to help guide you to the comet.

After the Sun rises we might have a second day of trying to spot the comet close to the Sun in the daytime sky. Well, it will be worth a try, and the websites of comet hunters, professional observatories and astronomy writers will keep us informed as to the comet’s brightness and our chances of seeing it. And of course I’ll post that information here, too.

So, daytime comet hunting on the 29th…

29 Nov 1030

Think if we see something like this..?

Nov 29 sunrise Kendal

29 Nov 1130

29 Nov 1230

By mid afternoon, we’ll have to look here to see the comet…

29 Nov 1430

As the Sun sets we might see ISON shining above it…

Nov 29th sunset

29 Nov 1500

By 4pm, with the Sun out of the way, might we FINALLY, after all the months of getting up at stupid o’clock, see the comet in the evening sky…?

29 Nov 1600

…and an hour later..?

29 Nov 1700

Oh, I hope so…! ๐Ÿ™‚

For the next hour or so we might get to see the upper reaches of any tail the comet has developed swinging across the western sky like the hand of a clock, but we can’t know that yet.

And so, the next day…

November 30th

*****************

By the time we northerners get up on the 30th the world will know just what ISON is going to do, what it will become. There’ll be photographs of its tail taken from spaceprobes and satellites, and we should have more accurate computer models of how its tail will develop in the coming days and weeks.

But what will we see?

Up before dawn again, to look east…

30 Nov 4am

And again, you know, tail… length… not accurate… yeah, you know all that by now.

As the sky brightens on the 30th, we might, if we’re lucky, see a nice bright tail, with some very welcome company in the sky…

30 Nov 7am

…and after sunset, all eyes will turn west to see what kind of a tail has developed during the day. By now ISON will have been joined by bright VENUS in the twilight…

30 Nov 1600

…and so will end November, and Comet ISON’s approach to, and rounding of, the Sun. I wonder what it will look like by then? Will its tail be long, and straight, like a WW2 searchlight beam? Will the tail be curved, and feathered, like a peacock’s tail? Like McNaught’s?

As November ends we should all have some magical memories and aย  lot of beautiful photographs. But, if the experts are right, then the best may yet be to come, as the comet moves into the December evening sky…

NOTE: There’s another comet in the sky which is much easier to spot than ISON. Go here to learn how to find Comet Lovejoy…

COMET LOVEJOY

NOTE: You can read my own latest personal reports on Comet ISON here

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131 Responses to “NOVEMBER 2013”

  1. WOW!!
    Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post this incredible fact collection.
    It gives me goose-bumps to realize how lucky we are to live at a time when science is permeating our society to this extent that everybody with a lap-top or a smart phone can take part in this. But only because people like you take the time and effort to share your knowledge and abilities with us.
    Thank you soooo very much for doing this!!

  2. yes. gratitude. good work.

  3. Stupid o’clock speaks to me!

  4. Wow amazing so its not the end of the world its just a spectacular show…. cant wait

  5. […] next couple of months: Everything you need to know: Comet ISON in 2013 | Human World | EarthSky NOVEMBER 2013 | WAITING FOR ISON Pics will be […]

  6. incredible work

  7. will it visible from india on nov 29

  8. grate job dude… But it is less useful up in India. the mars have already rise up here and it just got above the head at 1.30 am local. if someone who will help here will be mercury.
    i guess i will need to find my own path now.. :p
    thanks again. and i will try to give latest updates of the comet from here if possible..!

  9. Fantastic! Your blog should be the #1 Google hit on where to find comet ISON. Yours is by far the best and easiest to understand. Great graphics too! Thank YOU for keeping it simple.

  10. god job

  11. well done and thanks !

  12. Wow, great!!!

  13. Had to point out that Mars and Jupiter are nowhere near the comet, the software got those wrong.

  14. How late he is coming? Im from holland.

  15. Am Keep watching in tumkur city Karnataka, it is not very clear

  16. i’m just wondering is this comet going to hit earth or is it going to cause a solar flare that could do some damage to earth? I have been studing it for a while now and with the government shutdown and it’s timing it just seems strange? I mean now i think comet ison has 4 tails so that is another strange thing? Could someone answer this for me!

    • Chris, no need to worry, it’s going to pass by Earth at a distance of 40 MILLION miles, can’t cause solar flares, no risk. If by “studying” you mean “looking at YouTube videos” then be aware that the vast majority of people making ISN vids are either ignorant of astronomy or lying and trying to scare people like you. As for ISON having multiple tails, that’s very common. Just a quick Google image search for “comet+tail” will bring up photos of dozens pof past comets with multiple tails.

  17. Great work, well done. Especially appreciated the trajectories drawn for daytimes Thu Nov 28 10.07 – 02.07pm.

  18. Can we see in middle east I’m in Qatar

  19. thanks for that, i am really hoping nov 29th is clear, cause i can only see the comet in the west cause my eastern horizon is rubbish. just one question though, it the comet visible in the evening after the 29th?

  20. Thanks so much for all the information regarding, comet Ison I am so excited! Hopefully, I get the great pleasure of seeing it myself-if not, I look forward to your updates and of course great photos! Thank you

  21. will comet ison be visible in the philippines?

    • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: These charts are drawn for what is commonly called “mid Northern latitudes”, i.e. the UK, northern Europe and most of the US. If you live outside of that area your opportunities to view ISON will be different. To find out if you can see ISON from where YOU live, please go to this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/can-i-see-comet-ison-from-where-i-live/

      …where you’ll find a fantastic NASA chart giving general guidance, and a number of charts I’ve made showing the comet’s visibility from other places, specifically India, Japan and The Philipines, which are the places I’m getting the most enquiries from. If you’re still not sure about your ability to see ISON after reading all that, I strongly suggest that you download one of the many available astronomy apps onto your phone, which will tell you exactly what you want to know. I recommend some of those on this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/ison-publications-and-apps/

      Thanks – and good luck with ISON!

      ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

  22. where do you need to look when finding the comet N E W S

    can is see it here in the philippines and also i live at the kinda like the foot of the mountain and there are so many mountains on the east

    • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: These charts are drawn for what is commonly called “mid Northern latitudes”, i.e. the UK, northern Europe and most of the US. If you live outside of that area your opportunities to view ISON will be different. To find out if you can see ISON from where YOU live, please go to this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/can-i-see-comet-ison-from-where-i-live/

      …where you’ll find a fantastic NASA chart giving general guidance, and a number of charts I’ve made showing the comet’s visibility from other places, specifically India, Japan and The Philipines, which are the places I’m getting the most enquiries from. If you’re still not sure about your ability to see ISON after reading all that, I strongly suggest that you download one of the many available astronomy apps onto your phone, which will tell you exactly what you want to know. I recommend some of those on this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/ison-publications-and-apps/

      Thanks – and good luck with ISON!

      ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

  23. were do I see comet in AUSTRALIA and what time is best anyone known tar

    • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: These charts are drawn for what is commonly called “mid Northern latitudes”, i.e. the UK, northern Europe and most of the US. If you live outside of that area your opportunities to view ISON will be different. To find out if you can see ISON from where YOU live, please go to this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/can-i-see-comet-ison-from-where-i-live/

      …where you’ll find a fantastic NASA chart giving general guidance, and a number of charts I’ve made showing the comet’s visibility from other places, specifically India, Japan and The Philipines, which are the places I’m getting the most enquiries from. If you’re still not sure about your ability to see ISON after reading all that, I strongly suggest that you download one of the many available astronomy apps onto your phone, which will tell you exactly what you want to know. I recommend some of those on this page of my blog…

      https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/ison-publications-and-apps/

      Thanks – and good luck with ISON!

      ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

  24. no comment…iLL wait and see…

  25. I must applaud your effort.
    You have put together one of the best pages on the web for non astronomers (eg., moi) to help them get to see this once in a lifetime event.
    And you are the best antidote to an overdose of credulousness.
    May the (evidently two dimensional) Anunaki shake and shiver in their shoes with shame.

    A big THANK YOU Phoenix.

  26. thanks for your information .If possible I may see the comet ISON .Thanks!!!

  27. This is amazing, sooo impressed!

  28. […] Waiting for ISON: https://waitingforison.wordpress.com/november-2013/ […]

  29. Thanks so much for all the info on Ison, everymorning I look forward to logging in,

  30. viewed 11-29, 11-30 @~ 7:15-20 heading SSE? area is north of San Francisco; eye visible . w/ binoculars…..reddish head with multiple short ? dust trails.

  31. Driving in New Brunswick Canada I saw a bright green object going through sky and looked like it exploded . Was 10:30 pm was driving between Sackville NB and Memramcook NB there is a 4 mile stretch of highway was going west at the time any thoughts on what it was?

    • Hey Marjorie, there were lots of reports if a “fireball” (really bright shooting star) in your area at that time, seen by many people, so I am pretty sure that’s what you saw ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Was Thursday November 28

  33. where is now

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